Your beloved pet, who until now could enjoy your undivided attention, is going to have to learn to share: you’re expecting a baby! What changes is this birth going to bring into your four-legged friend’s life?
Pets and children: break the stereotypes
Clichés about how pets and babies die hard: you’ll often hear that cats are dangerous with babies, that they’re jealous and revengeful… There is actually no evidence of this. However, just like it is for you, the birth of a child can be quite a disruption for a pet used to the comfort and routine of a familiar home.
- As early as the first weeks of pregnancy, your pet can notice that something is going on, sometimes before you even realize it! It is not a myth: animals are particularly sensitive to pheromones and can spot many human health conditions as precisely as a medical professional…
- Your daily routine is shaken up: you’re more often at home, your walks may be shortened or less frequent, new items appear around the house (a stroller, a crib, baby toys)… It’s intriguing!
- The baby is here! Your pet must get used to this new family member. It may feel pushed away, or left out when you’re carrying your newborn: there again, it may be disturbing.
Unless you decide to completely ignore your pet in favor of your child, there is no such thing as jealousy for pets. If you notice that your cat starts to pee outside of its box, or that your dog chews on your things, consider these as reactions to change rather than signs of jealousy.
Help your pet get used to the change
There’s no use getting upset at your pet: your pet is simply trying to figure out what’s going on! Curb its anxiety by spending a little more time with it every day, without overdoing it. Make sure you keep a predictable routine for your pet: meal hours, walk paths, etc.
Clearly state the new boundaries that you need your pet to respect: calmly but firmly, push it away if it is invasive or a little too comfortable (your cat settling into the crib for example). It’ll quickly learn to wait for its turn or find another spot to relax.
Pets instinctively feel the hierarchy level of the newcomer: it understands that you give it time and attention, and that it should act likewise. Without shutting it down, remind your pet of its position in the family. And refrain from making your pet feel like it is above the newborn to make up for a lack of presence; that kind of behavior can only result in more difficulties.
Finally, if these tricks don’t make your pet more comfortable, bring it to a behavioral analyst. A fearful, aggressive, old or traumatized animal can have unpredictable reactions and needs time to come to terms with the new family balance. Anticipate your child’s birth and get your pet a Weenect Pets GPS tracker to prevent any risk.
In general, pets get accustomed to the arrival of a newborn pretty smoothly: after an observation phase, your cat or dog will tame the newcomer and they’ll become friends for life!